Monday, April 25, 2011
Taking The Scenic Route
Imagine you are choosing to ride a train. You have two choices: the fastest and most direct route to your destination, or the scenic route, the longer (and therefore slower) path that allows you to relax and enjoy the trip. Before mass air travel, train was how many vacation tours were accomplished, helping the phrase get firmly established in the language.
In idioms, "the scenic route" means the long way (whether or not there is an advantage!), as opposed to the short way, which is the most efficient path to one's destination.
Example: "Daisy was supposed to be here at 10 o'clock, but she took the scenic route when she went shopping. Who knows when she'll arrive now?"
In this example, taking the scenic route is not a compliment. It means that the person has deliberately chosen to be slow and late based on whim. This reflects how the phrase is most likely to be used in English as an idiom.
When meant literally, it can mean a wonderful vacation. Figuratively... not so much.